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Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thread!

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Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thread!

Old 05-08-11, 09:43 AM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by MinLShaw

Participants should make the distinction between this challenge and anything that would qualify for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge. If it would make sense for that challenge, it has no place in this one.
For the B-movie challenge, I watched UFO (1956, aka UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS: THE TRUE STORY ABOUT FLYING SAUCERS), which was a documentary-style recreation of an actual investigation of the UFO phenomenon by a civilian investigator working for the Air Force. A Los Angeles newspaperman played the civilian investigator and actors played real Air Force and airport personnel. The film included filmed interviews with four actual eyewitnesses to UFO events. The b&w film concluded with actual color film footage of UFOs, which was then played back repeatedly in slow motion--Zapruder style--to analyze the crafts' movements. Definitely not science fiction and arguably well-suited to the historical challenge. I may watch it again next month.

There have also been films like COMMUNION (1989) and FIRE IN THE SKY (1993) based on actual accounts of UFO abduction that should be eligible also.

A question: what about comedies set in historical periods? I'm thinking specifically of CASANOVA'S BIG NIGHT (1954), in which Bob Hope plays Casanova's tailor and is coerced into impersonating Casanova on a trip to Venice and a visit to the court of the Doge (the head honcho of Venice in those years). Hope is hilarious but the rest of the movie is played pretty straight and the background recreations of 17th century Venice (all done at Paramount Pictures) are quite beautiful. I'd also throw in two other Hope historical comedies, MONSIEUR BEAUCAIRE (1946) and THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE (1944). Which then leads to Monty Python films like THE HOLY GRAIL and THE LIFE OF BRIAN. Whaddaya think?
Old 05-08-11, 10:27 AM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
Definitely not science fiction and arguably well-suited to the historical challenge. I may watch it again next month.

There have also been films like COMMUNION (1989) and FIRE IN THE SKY (1993) based on actual accounts of UFO abduction that should be eligible also.
On the one hand, I think there's a legitimate case to be made that these kinds of things fall under the "Alleged to Have Happened" umbrella. On the other hand, I think there's sufficient skepticism toward the reality of these kinds of stories. Allowing them opens the door immediately for things like The X-Files.

My knee-jerk ruling is this: They're out, but the History Channel has lots of programming dedicated to this kind of thing and the History Channel is on our unofficial safe list so if you're jonesin' for an alien fix that's where you'll need to get it for this challenge. I'm open to being persuaded otherwise, but I do believe boundaries are necessary and healthy for a challenge and this kind of stuff tests those boundaries.

A question: what about comedies set in historical periods?...Which then leads to Monty Python films like THE HOLY GRAIL and THE LIFE OF BRIAN. Whaddaya think?
I've seen the two Monty Python films, but not the others. The humor in those, I feel, demonstrated a thoughtful awareness of historical events and that their stories made specific use of the settings. That is to say, The Life of Brian wasn't set during the time of Christ by happenstance, nor was it incidental to the story. Rather, it was clearly a mandatory element. I think also of 1941 as another example; the immediate post-Pearl Harbor anxiety was central to that film's plot.

My knee-jerk ruling: I am concerned that the tone of comedies may not be consistent with the intended nature of this challenge, but I also recognize that many have made just as much use of the historical record in their stories as dramatic pictures. Satire has a long-standing role in shaping perceptions; we discuss Jonathan Swift at least as much as we mention ten U.S. presidents because of the influence his works had on the public.

I'll allow comedies, but I would strongly encourage participants to avoid films that make only casual use of historical knowledge and setting. If the story and humor aren't explicitly predicated on a working knowledge of a specific era or event, then you should avoid it. This is not a time to break out your Rocky & Bullwinkle box set on the basis that the Mr. Peabody segments fit the above description.

As always, consult this discussion thread for feedback from other participants who may have seen the film in question.
Old 05-08-11, 02:41 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by That'sAllFolks
I don't want to be disruptive, but I don't know why this has to be so hard. HISTORICAL CHALLENGE should be documentaries or films at least based on ACTUAL EVENTS, not period pieces like any film having to do with WWII, the West, etc. I would include Robin Hood, simply because it's really unknown whether he really existed or not. Also, I would include the Ten Commandments because it is based on what many would consider actual events documented in the Bible.
Originally Posted by MinLShaw
For quite a while, history was taught with an almost exclusive emphasis on people whose names were prominently celebrated: monarchs, presidents, inventors, the most notorious criminals and acclaimed artists. In the last couple of decades, however, there has emerged a growing belief that even though those are the people most associated with the events that have shaped history, that we should make an effort to understand the conditions of life for the majority of people whose stories were never regarded as important.

It is based on this logic that works of fiction set during specific historical periods are included in this challenge. There was no "Hawkeye" Pierce, but M*A*S*H made a concentrated effort to represent the kinds of experiences that American soldiers had during the Korean War. There was no King Arthur or Robin Hood, but their values as mythological folk figures is undeniable. Stories based on such figures, then, can be seen more as Humanities studies than strict History, but are still under the umbrella of Social Sciences.
Sometimes the history that we read is fiction. In French class in college we read an account of a king returning from the Crusades who laid siege to the castle of a duke, who had been captured and was imprisoned, so that he could rape the duchess. She appealed to his moral sense, and he relented. After we finished reading, the professor told us that this was not what really happened. The king sacked the castle and raped the duchess. The author was trying to create the ideal of chivalry, to encourage the nobility to behave better.

At the time, I thought the whitewash was pointless, since the duke's family and the king's family, people who knew them personally, and anyone near the castle would know what really happened. Thinking about it a little more, the bad conduct of this king must have been notorious for the wife of one of his vassals to have ordered the gates barred when she heard that he was coming.

On the other hand, a lot of fiction is based on things that actually happened, with the names changed and some details smoothed out.
Old 05-08-11, 03:58 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by ororama
In French class in college we read an account of a king returning from the Crusades who laid siege to the castle of a duke, who had been captured and was imprisoned, so that he could rape the duchess. She appealed to his moral sense, and he relented. After we finished reading, the professor told us that this was not what really happened. The king sacked the castle and raped the duchess. The author was trying to create the ideal of chivalry, to encourage the nobility to behave better.
Dammit! I recall this event but I cannot find my class notes anymore to identify the particulars. This is gonna gnaw at me...

On the other hand, a lot of fiction is based on things that actually happened, with the names changed and some details smoothed out.
Yeah, and this is part of why it's difficult to be particularly discerning between history and humanities in many instances. Often, what we know of a particular event can be traced to written accounts, but of course corroboration can be difficult as well as sifting through the various agendas of those who wrote the surviving records. Look at what we know of the Crusades from the chronicles of Jean Froissart, Jean de Joinville and Geffroy de Villehardouin. Their writings make fascinating reading and were assigned reading in a course I took at the University of Louisville about Medieval European History, but taking each account literally at face value may be problematic--even Froissart, whose accounts were taken from his own firsthand experiences.
Old 05-08-11, 04:50 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Would it be easier to just call this the "War/Westerns Challenge"?
Old 05-08-11, 04:57 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by davidh777
Would it be easier to just call this the "War/Westerns Challenge"?
You know, last year when discussing the planning for this challenge, the idea was briefly floated of alternating between those two. We'd theoretically do a War Challenge one year, a Western Challenge the next and go back and forth. It was determined that combining them was preferable, but I gotta say it would save us a lot of debate over eligibility issues.
Old 05-08-11, 09:49 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by davidh777
Would it be easier to just call this the "War/Westerns Challenge"?
Not for me. I'm planning to watch a lot of Japanese period dramas set during the feudal era for this challenge (CHUSHINGURA, SAMURAI VENDETTA, FALL OF AKO CASTLE). And things like THE YAKUZA PAPERS and Sonny Chiba's fact-based martial arts films (THE KILLING MACHINE, KARATE FOR LIFE, etc.). And Shaw Bros.' varied Chinese historical dramas like: THE BOXER REBELLION, MARCO POLO, EMPRESS WU, THE MAGNIFICENT CONCUBINE, and the series of films about Emperor Chien Lung, to name a few.

(Although, truth to tell, I have enough westerns and war movies on hand to keep me busy for a month.)
Old 05-08-11, 10:07 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
You know, last year when discussing the planning for this challenge, the idea was briefly floated of alternating between those two. We'd theoretically do a War Challenge one year, a Western Challenge the next and go back and forth. It was determined that combining them was preferable, but I gotta say it would save us a lot of debate over eligibility issues.
I probably shouldn't comment, since I'm largely "retired" and even more laid back and liberal on these things than before, but here's my less than two cents.

I love this challenge the way it's currently set-up, as a sort of historical catch-all. The rules and guidelines to try to steer people to "real" history are great, but if some participants go to the left of the guidelines I wouldn't bat an eye. I don't think anyone would try something like X-files here, but many other "UFO" docs and movies would be fine imo.

I'd prefer keeping it a catch-all each year, seems to me that more people would participate each year that way. A couple of us did only westerns last year, and I'd hate to exclude people who want to continue that pattern. It's true that perhaps we get a bit less of the community interaction going on with such a spread of genres, but there are more genres than months, and less interest in challenges for some of these genres, so combining them at least gives us somewhat of a group to communally participate in something somewhat linked.
Old 05-08-11, 11:08 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

It shouldn't be this hard to figure out what to watch. As a general rule, if you're watching something that is about(like a documentary), or takes place(like Band of Brothers) in an earlier time in our history and is realistic(not a WWII movie about an American platoon of werewolves), odds are it counts.

A movie about the Depression that came out during the Depression, wouldn't count but a film about the Depression that came out last year, would count.

There's seems to be a contradiction when it comes to something like WWII where a movie about WWII that came out during WWII would be allowed. In my opinion, why stop there? Why not allow the same deal with any other event in history where a movie is made about what's, at the time, a current event.

I think the rules should be more standard in that those movies wouldn't count but something like Saving Private Ryan would count.

At least that's how I'm seeing things/throwing things out there to see what happens.
Old 05-09-11, 01:09 AM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
Dammit! I recall this event but I cannot find my class notes anymore to identify the particulars. This is gonna gnaw at me...
I had thought it was by Restif de Bretonne, but his biography and work don't seem to match up with what I recall about the author. You mentioned Jean Froissart, and his biography is pretty close to what I remember about the author, and the title Chroniques seems right (I had thought Histoires, but Stories seems wrong). I think that the king was Henri of France, but I don't remember which one.
Old 05-09-11, 02:14 AM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by Mister Peepers
It shouldn't be this hard to figure out what to watch. As a general rule, if you're watching something that is about(like a documentary), or takes place(like Band of Brothers) in an earlier time in our history and is realistic(not a WWII movie about an American platoon of werewolves), odds are it counts.
I agree, but everyone should watch Dog Soldiers during the Horror Challenge. Great movie.

Originally Posted by Mister Peepers

There's seems to be a contradiction when it comes to something like WWII where a movie about WWII that came out during WWII would be allowed. In my opinion, why stop there? Why not allow the same deal with any other event in history where a movie is made about what's, at the time, a current event.

I think the rules should be more standard in that those movies wouldn't count but something like Saving Private Ryan would count.
My recollection is that this rule was arrived at because half of the origin of the challenge was the potential War Challenge, and that westerns that were clearly not historical, like singing cowboy movies, were allowed for the same reason.

It seems that unlike the Drive-In Challenge, everyone pretty much understands what's in and what's out. The points of contention seem to be movies with sci-fi elements (almost all out) and comedies (mostly in, probably). I don't imagine that most people interested in this challenge are likely to be watching too much that would fall in those two borderline areas.

I watched most of my highest priority World War II movies (Rossellini's War Trilogy, Wajda's War Trilogy, Night and Fog, Closely Watched Trains, The Shop On Main Street, The Cranes Are Flying, Ballad of a Soldier, Ivan's Childhood, Wings, The Ascent) during last year's Criterion Challenge, so I'm aiming for something different. I'm planning on watching some movies about feudal China and Korea (and maybe Japan), a few movies about Ireland including Hunger, some movies about ordinary people that wouldn't have fit the "Great Man" version of history (Horton Foote and Bill Douglas), and a few spaghetti westerns.

I like to watch movies with my kids when possible, and this challenge offers a valuable opportunity for that. I want them to see Hunger, even though my wife might feel that some of its content is not appropriate for them. I recall the hunger strike, and hearing Bobby Sands' brother speak while I was in college, so it's a historical event that has personal meaning for me, as well as lesson regarding the importance of standing against injustice.

Last edited by ororama; 05-09-11 at 07:46 AM.
Old 05-09-11, 03:37 AM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
You know, last year when discussing the planning for this challenge, the idea was briefly floated of alternating between those two. We'd theoretically do a War Challenge one year, a Western Challenge the next and go back and forth. It was determined that combining them was preferable, but I gotta say it would save us a lot of debate over eligibility issues.
I'm mostly joking because I really like the format as it is. I have enough Westerns to last me any number of Challenges, and I have enough war films to last me a month or two. But I like the variety and the flexibility to go back and forth between the two or to dip into other related genres. The discussion is just getting a little too granular at the moment--let's just watch the movies already!
Old 05-10-11, 12:31 AM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

I am going to do this challenge this year and make it easy for myself and just focus on War or Western. I already have a couple saved on my TiVo in preparation.

Ugh just realized my next DVD from Netflix is a war movie I had near the top because it said Long Wait, oh well.
Old 05-10-11, 10:43 AM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

I've been lurking this thread for a couple days now and the more debate that goes on about what qualifies the less I want to participate.

If I do join in I think I'll stick directly to war/westerns just to avoid sparking a debate over list items.
Old 05-10-11, 10:48 AM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by takingchase
I've been lurking this thread for a couple days now and the more debate that goes on about what qualifies the less I want to participate.

If I do join in I think I'll stick directly to war/westerns just to avoid sparking a debate over list items.
Sorry to hear that you're discouraged by the debate. Believe it or not, this is an improvement over the free-wheeling gripes last year! History is a contentious subject anyway, as can be film. The intersection of those two interests is inevitably going to provoke impassioned arguments. I think you should still be able to have perfectly enjoyable time with this challenge with a War/Western concentration, though, and I encourage you to give it a go.
Old 05-10-11, 11:06 AM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
Sorry to hear that you're discouraged by the debate. Believe it or not, this is an improvement over the free-wheeling gripes last year! History is a contentious subject anyway, as can be film. The intersection of those two interests is inevitably going to provoke impassioned arguments. I think you should still be able to have perfectly enjoyable time with this challenge with a War/Western concentration, though, and I encourage you to give it a go.
I'm all for a spirited debate on film just not so much as to whether something would qualify for this challenge. That being said, nothing in here is out of control but I would hate to see what happens if someone adds something to their list another doesn't agree with.

I guess it all just seems silly to me when most of the westerns people are going to watch are fiction and no one cries foul.
Old 05-10-11, 11:16 AM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by takingchase
I've been lurking this thread for a couple days now and the more debate that goes on about what qualifies the less I want to participate.

If I do join in I think I'll stick directly to war/westerns just to avoid sparking a debate over list items.
Ignore the debates in these various Challenges and just have fun with what you want to watch. We're passionate OCD-adled maniacs, and can "argue" over minutiae for eternity.

But it's all just guidelines really, trying to create a communal atmosphere. The only goal is to have fun with it. Go "off book" if you want, and list them if you're open to possible debate.

If anyone personally believes something should count, it counts imo.

Watch 1 item the whole month, or watch 100; watch only things that count per the official rules, or watch Star Wars. It's all good.
Old 05-10-11, 02:09 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by takingchase
I'm all for a spirited debate on film just not so much as to whether something would qualify for this challenge. That being said, nothing in here is out of control but I would hate to see what happens if someone adds something to their list another doesn't agree with..
It very likely that nothing would happen. For all of the debates that we have, I can't remember someone calling out another list (I'm sure that few people read everything on everyone's list...or maybe I'm crazy). I've seen people start their lists "early" and no one made mention of it.

The idea of participating in one of these challenges is to find a sense of community and have others "pushing/encouraging" you to watch more of a particular genre. In all honesty, if I said that I didn't think something should count, it would be only my opinion and only be relevant to my own list. I don't really care if others adopt different guidelines.

I wouldn't let debate discourage you; for years I sat out the Horror Challenge because it seemed like a hostile environment. This past year, I participated (well, compared to others, I stopped by for a quick viewing) in the challenge, watched what I thought was Horror, and moved on. I don't know if anyone challenged my list, but if they did, I never saw anything about it. The debates occur mainly because someone says, "Do you think _____ counts?" Then, we have a debate. Like I said, it's fairly unlikely that someone is going to call your list out without you starting the conversation.

I now await people to show past posts denying everything I just wrote
Old 05-10-11, 02:16 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by takingchase
That being said, nothing in here is out of control but I would hate to see what happens if someone adds something to their list another doesn't agree with.
You'd want the Horror Challenge of 2007, I believe.
Old 05-10-11, 02:20 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

I agree that the goal is to watch stuff, have fun, and discuss among others. (I give credit to MinLShaw and Trevor for encouraging me last year when I was new to challenges and feeling intimidated by my low totals in the final standings.)

There was a discussion during the last exploitation challenge when someone was going through others' lists and saying that some stuff shouldn't qualify. The debate didn't get ugly, though, and I myself am not terribly worried if someone calls out my list. Maybe it would bother me if I were watching stuff to just hit a certain number and was forced to take stuff off my list, but my schedule doesn't really allow for lofty numbers anyway, and I probably wouldn't change my list regardless.

Maybe we should think of it as the "Stuff That We're Trying to Make Look Old" challenge.
Old 05-10-11, 02:21 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by CardiffGiant
I wouldn't let debate discourage you; for years I sat out the Horror Challenge because it seemed like a hostile environment. This past year, I participated (well, compared to others, I stopped by for a quick viewing) in the challenge, watched what I thought was Horror, and moved on. I don't know if anyone challenged my list, but if they did, I never saw anything about it. The debates occur mainly because someone says, "Do you think _____ counts?" Then, we have a debate. Like I said, it's fairly unlikely that someone is going to call your list out without you starting the conversation.
Yeah, the thing is that someone else would have to be familiar with the film to even debate its merits. I encourage anyone who's uncertain about a movie to ask in the discussion thread for thoughts from anyone who may be familiar with it. Ultimately, we're on the honor system here since there's no way to verify that you've watched anything on your list. It's just assumed that you'll pick movies that are appropriate to the theme of the challenge.

I gotta say, this does seem to be the most debated challenge since the legendary Horror Challenge rows of years past. Most of the others are pretty obvious; Academy Awards, Criterion, TV on DVD*, Holiday are self-evident. Drive-In/Exploitation/B-Movie still isn't exact, but the spirit seems to be fairly well understood by most participants even if there's uncertainty about specific films. This one, though, because we're dealing with settings, people and events that are already defined for many of us, leads to differing notions about what constitutes "historical."

Personally, I'm planning on focusing on David Lean-helmed films as well as trying to get in some works by and about Ronald Reagan. Beyond those, I'm determined to finally get around to Saving Private Ryan. I hope he's okay; I've been putting him off since 1998.
Old 05-10-11, 02:26 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
Y
Personally, I'm planning on focusing on David Lean-helmed films as well as trying to get in some works by and about Ronald Reagan. Beyond those, I'm determined to finally get around to Saving Private Ryan. I hope he's okay; I've been putting him off since 1998.
Don't forget SANTA FE TRAIL (1940) in which Reagan plays Custer. And Errol Flynn plays Jeb Stuart. And Raymond Massey plays John Brown. (Massey played Lincoln the same year.) And then check out Flynn and Reagan in the war movie, DESPERATE JOURNEY (1942).
Old 05-10-11, 09:00 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by takingchase
I've been lurking this thread for a couple days now and the more debate that goes on about what qualifies the less I want to participate.

If I do join in I think I'll stick directly to war/westerns just to avoid sparking a debate over list items.
Though I largely started this with my comments, I would never criticize your choices specifically. It just seems pointless to have a challenge and then look for ways to shoe-horn in the movies you want to watch anyway. I indicated the guidelines that I consider valid and will personally follow those, but if you choose different guidelines, then by all means follow those.
Old 05-10-11, 11:59 PM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

Originally Posted by Mister Peepers
It shouldn't be this hard to figure out what to watch. As a general rule, if you're watching something that is about(like a documentary), or takes place(like Band of Brothers) in an earlier time in our history and is realistic(not a WWII movie about an American platoon of werewolves), odds are it counts.

A movie about the Depression that came out during the Depression, wouldn't count but a film about the Depression that came out last year, would count.

There's seems to be a contradiction when it comes to something like WWII where a movie about WWII that came out during WWII would be allowed. In my opinion, why stop there? Why not allow the same deal with any other event in history where a movie is made about what's, at the time, a current event.

I think the rules should be more standard in that those movies wouldn't count but something like Saving Private Ryan would count.

At least that's how I'm seeing things/throwing things out there to see what happens.
The danger comes because it opens the door to every film ever made. In my opinion, what made this interesting was that it was about latter day interpretations of those "current events", after some time and introspection. You pretty much nailed it, though. War gets a special status because it is a specific genre. Movies about Wars that were current are OK, even if other films about current events might not be. I also don't think it is any big deal about overlaps with other challenges, like for Western movies and Martial Arts films about Ancient China and Japan. The Drive-In challenge was really about a specific kind of Western, like Italian/European and low budget oaters. This challenge allows in all Westerns including John Ford "A" pictures which are not allowed in the Drive-in challenge. Kind of like how not all Horror and Sci-Fi films are allowed unless they are the right type. And as for Martial Arts films, as long as they are Historical, I don't see a problem here, either. It's about framing. For the Drive-in Challenge, it was about the violence, while here it is about the historical context.


The Challenges are meant to be pretty loose and this one is less about numbers. You can be hardcore or casual. If you want to watch all War or Westerns, then have at it. If you want to watch a film from every century of History, then that's cool, too. Last year, we were just avoiding the whole Truth Police thing about true story films, since they are all fictionalized anyway. Might was well just allow in any film in a historical context. If you just want to watch Dr. Zhivago or Apocalypse Now, then that's why this challenge exists. This is an excuse to pull movies off the shelf under the umbrella of a theme. Have fun with it. The theme is always going to be unwieldy compared to Horror, Sci-Fi or Academy Awards. And watching Amadeus or Gone With The Wind, you aren't going to get that many in, so take advantage of being able to go for quality over quantity.
Old 05-11-11, 07:41 AM
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Re: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Second Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Discussion Thre

I was wondering if JONAH HEX would be eligible because it has significant scenes with Pres. Ulysses S. Grant (well played by Aidan Quinn), but then I thought that if you wanted to include films with Pres. Grant, there are plenty of better ones that don't have HEX's fantasy elements. E.g. SITTING BULL (1954) which posits a never-actually-happened sitdown between the title character and Pres. Grant (played by John Hamilton, Perry White on TV's Superman).

So I got to thinking, why not compile a list of films featuring U.S. presidents and seeing how many different presidents one can squeeze into a checklist item. Lincoln and Grant are probably the most-filmed presidents, followed, I believe, by FDR. It's easy to find Kennedy and Nixon, but it starts to get harder after that. Not much Washington or Jefferson on film (Nick Nolte in JEFFERSON IN PARIS, which took place when he wasn't President) and you can go crazy trying to find some of the others. Teddy Roosevelt is in THE WIND AND THE LION. I saw one last year in which Millard Fillmore had a cameo (a musical western called CAN'T HELP SINGING). That's really a find. Chester Alan Arthur was a character in the western, CATTLE KING (1963). AMISTAD had post-presidential John Quincy Adams (played by Anthony Hopkins, I believe). This was off the top of my head, so I'd have to do some research to find other films with less-visible U.S. presidents.

I know there have been films with Washington. I'm guessing the musical, 1776, has a few future U.S. presidents in it. I've never seen it. The only other one I can think of that had Washington in it was LAFAYETTE (1963), which I've never seen and is probably very hard to find.

THE PRIVATE FILES OF J. EDGAR HOOVER (1977) has FDR, JFK, LBJ and Nixon in it. I don't know how easy that film is to find, but it would make a good checklist item.

My suggestion is to include at least Lincoln and Grant on the checklist. And maybe have some others as optional.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 05-11-11 at 12:09 PM.

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